Now Playing: Soccer
Topic: Football Nations
Wednesday's child is full of woe...
Thursday's child has far to go...
Don't even know what day I was born on. I did ask what time. And got two totally different answers from mum and dad. My Dad said somethng about an important football match clashing with my birth "fixture" so I'd tend to take his word more seriously. (Soccer) football is about as "important" here in the UK as anything gets.
You could even say it's Britain's national religion, because far more people watch the World Cup, say, than ever go to church. The local pub was literally overflowing on the final France v Italy. Amusing national rivalries came out at this time. Eg.: Every goal Italy put in got massive roars of approval.
We Brits still haven't got over our military spats with France: the 1066 Battle of Hastings (which we lost) or the 1815 Battle of Waterloo (which we won).
I was talking about this (Britain's national relationships with other nations) to an old lady I know in the Post Office queue the other week. She wasn't having any of it. Wouldn't admit that national prejudices exist at all, when we all know they do. Football matches are a prime time obviously for them to come out.
France, our nearest neighbour, we've always had a love-hate relationship with. Despite our being on the same side in two World Wars, despite our love of French wines (esp. Champagne) & cheeses & the fact that most posh restaurants still feature a mostly French menu. Despite the fact that we all (try to) learn French as our first (& usually only) foreign language & that being au fait with French expressions is considered a sign of good education. Despite the fact that France is the number one location for second homes, there still persists this lingering resentment/jealousy/rivalry. After all we are nations of roughly equal size. (60,000,000 population each.) Except they have about five times more land to live on, a more bearable climate, the glamourous Mediterranean coast as well as Alpine skiing. Plus++ one of their départements (county shires) is a Caribbean isle. The French definitely grabbed the finest plot of land in Europe. I mean, what more could you ask for?
I won't get into London-Paris comparisons. Except to say London is very much the superior town... Anyway...
I used to think national characteristics didn't exist; but they do. A nation, after all, is merely a vastly extended family and all families have their own particular habits, views and ways of life. That's not to say that individuals should be judged on nationality. I hate hearing people say, Those Germans/Spanish/Dutch/whatever, they're all the same. Because of course they're not. What I'm saying is we all hold on to group as well as individual identities.
I always find the American view of the Brits amusing — the one that believes we're all so formal and uptight and conventional, when actually, I have v often found the exact reverse to be true. The British have just always liked to do things in our own understated way.
Compare football English crowds with foreigners... even then we're understated. For sheer ebullient exotic uninhibited maniacal excitement we cannot match the South Americans. ...And to think Pele, #1 footballer in the World in the 1960s, reduced to small newspaper ads touting erection failure assistance. What can I say?
How I got from Wednesday to Viagra, who knows? Mousey slept up my sleeve last night only to wake me at 4am with his incessant ferretting up and down my arm. When I offered him the freedom of the Great Outside, he peered suspiciously out from my cuff, sniffed the air, turned on his tail and pinged back to the warmth and safety of my elbow nest.
It is endearing seeing him treat me as "home". He runs away from my hand when I attempt to pick him out. No thanks. I'm fine here. And he is so tiny!
In his proper home (an aquarium) he sleeps in an empty Jaffas Cakes box. The morning after I gave him this luxury hamster bedroom (bathroom ensuite, there's loads of poos on the floor) I cannot help but notice the humungous holes the little beast has chewed in the floor. Yes I know they're called "rodents" because they're nibblers by nature — but honestly! Not even 24 hrs and there's holes in it already. Right in the middle of it, mind. Not the side. So what he got hold of to get his teeth into I cannot fathom.
Imagine the translation in human terms: "— Oh, what a lovely place. I think I'll live here. Oh yes indeedy. And this lovely big shaded chamber shall be my bedroom..."
(An hour passes.)
."..Oh dear. Ooh. Ooer. Oh dearie me. I'm so bored. What on earth am I going to do? Oh I know — I'll chew a bloody great hole in the floor!"
— See what I mean?
When we had wild mice, one chewed a footprint-sized dent in my cupboard. What he imagined he was doing I'd truly love to know. And he didn't have the excuse of being bored in captivity. Anyway I'm off now. It's 4:30 pm and dark already.
As the Looney Tunes used to say, That's All Folks!
PS We used to know a lady called Luna. I told my friend her surname was Tick — and he believed me!